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Two out of ten, if he’s lucky

17 December 2009

The (Mexico City) News:

The problem with the 10-point political reform proposed on Tuesday by President Felipe Calderon is that it is headed towards “The Shredder,” namely the two houses of Congress.

Some of the points made by Calderón certainly aim at breaking up a political system in effect since 1933, when reelection of officials was banned under the still-in-effect official rule of “Effective Suffrage, No Reelection.”

Other suggested reforms aim at reducing the number of senators and deputies from 128 to 96 and from 500 to 400, respectively. It is highly unlikely that this may happen as the smaller parties such as the Democratic Revolution, Green and Labor parties consider the “plurinominal” seats in congress as fruits of their battles against the National Action and Institutional Revolutionary parties. The reform is seen as an attempt to create a two-party system.

What may fly is the idea of reelecting federal deputies and municipal presidents, who serve three-year terms. The president asked for up to 12 years in reelected power, but that period may be pared down to six years.

Another proposition which will probably be accepted is a runoff presidential election in case of a draw, as was the case in 2006, when both Calderón and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador won 36 percent of the vote and Calderon won by a very narrow margin.

The political reform now goes to Congress, where, like all Calderon proposals, it will not survive unscathed.

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